Doha, Qatar, March 10, 2020 – Bruno Schmidt may be an Olympic and world champion, but the Brazilian is refusing to rest on past glories as he embarks on his second year in partnership with Evandro Goncalves.
Bruno won gold at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games alongside Alison Cerutti, a year after they topped the podium at the Netherlands 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
Bruno in action at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Evandro and Andre Stein succeeded Bruno and Alison as world champions at the Vienna 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
Bruno and Alison, and Evandro and Andre split midway through 2018 and after they changed partners over the next few months, they teamed up in early 2019 and played their first World Tour tournament at the 2019 Katara Beach Volleyball Cup where they reached the first knockout round.
“From the start we have had a lot of challenges,” Bruno said. “He hadn’t been a blocker all the time and sometimes preferred to defend. I had a huge problem with my knee that meant I had to stop for a while.
“When they asked me to join the group, I felt that it was a team that we could build to become competitive and it is something I am passionate about. It isn’t about winning, it’s about the process to become a competitive team.”
Despite their inauspicious start the pair found their rhythm and they ended 2019 with three medals – gold at the Warsaw 4-Star, silver at the Jinjiang 4-Star and bronze at the Gstaad 5-Star – which means they are en route for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.
Four years ago Bruno and Alison ended Brazil’s 12-year wait for Olympic champions and their success in front of 12,500 fans on Copacabana was one of the highlights of Rio 2016.
However, despite both players knowing what it takes to taste glory neither are thinking about it right now.
“We don’t want to think about the Olympics - we just want to go step by step,” Bruno said. “I’ve forgotten about the things I did in the past. They were amazing but beach volleyball has developed a lot.
“The blockers are huge, and the speed of the matches has increased a lot. Four years ago is different to now. I really don’t want to think about those things.
“The best thing is the process of building a competitive team. Evandro is such a humble guy and he wants to help me get better and that is what I am concentrating on right now.”
The men-only Katara Beach Volleyball Cup is running from March 9-13 at Katara Cultural Village in the north of the city. It is the second of nine 4-Star events on the 2019-2020 calendar and the winners will leave with 800 ranking points.
Qatar has built up a strong tradition of hosting World Tour events since it hosted its first in 2014. Two more followed in 2015 and 2016, then in 2018 the tournament grew from a 3-Star tournament to a 4-Star tournament.